So you just moved in to your new apartment and the cable guy isn’t scheduled to hook up your Internet connection until next week. While you’re on your laptop you notice your neighbor has an unsecured wifi network in his/her home, so you connect to it and start updating your Facebook status: “I just moved in to my new home..this is great! FREEDOM”. You continue to use the neighbor’s wifi for a few days only to find out your Facebook account was hacked, and your credit credit card statement shows all these weird charges you swear you didn’t make. Congrats, you were just a victim of identity theft…all from using an unencrypted hot spot.

In the field of Information Technology, information security is a growing field, and for a good reason. Everyone remember when Facebook Founder’s Mark Zuckerberg status was hacked a few weeks ago? Facebook officials were on the correct path towards securing user data, but due to neglect, things happen and it makes front page news (well, sorta). We’ve all been mooching off someones open wifi connection at one time or another, and there are stats to prove it. According to a recent poll conducted by Wakefield Research and the Wi-Fi Alliance, 32% of respondents admitted to trying to steal a neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection at some point, a significant increase over 18% in 2008. And if you’re wondering, yes, using someone’s wireless connection which you don’t own IS stealing. But it isn’t going to jail you need to worry about, it’s how secure your information is. With an unencrypted connection, your credit card numbers, login information, telephone numbers and addresses are transmitted over open radio waves which anyone can intercept…including thieves.

So what can be done to deter the problem? The solution is simple, if you have a router, secure it…setup any type of encryption on your wireless connection possible. I personally recommend WPA2-Personal, which is the best encryption to use thus far. When you setup encryption, don’t forget to find out what type of encryption your wireless devices use, and if they don’t support it, you won’t be able to connect to your network. To go one step further, you can setup a filter on your router to only allow devices you specify onto your network. This protects your data and network from intrusions as much as possible.

As always, Geek IT is here to help. If you have any questions regarding wireless security, any of our articles, or even questions about securing your home or business Wifi, give us a call at 693-8050, or e-mail us.